Keep Quota in the hands of the Grower - L. Eddie Gilkison, 11/3/00 11:29AM
The Burley tobacco quota should be in the hands of the grower.
Burley tobacco quota leasing needs to be stopped. Quota holders that do not want to raise tobacco on their farm should be out of the tobacco business. Quotas should be transferred to the farms or farmers that have been growing the tobacco within the county. The quota needs to stay in the county.
I would favor a redistribution of the quota to the farms/farmers that are growing the burley tobacco in that county. There are several ways to accomplish this:
1. The simplest would be a change in the interpretation of the leasing requirements. Currently the regulations say you have to raise your quota two out of three years. Leasing is considered as planted. The FSA terminology is P or CP credit (Planted or considered planted) two out of three years to be eligible to lease. If the considered planted portion was eliminated it would force a large portion of the quota holders to either sell or loose their quotas. The system should be changed to allow the lost quota to remain in the county instead of going into a State pool. Farmers could buy the quota, which requires it to be raised on that farm for the next three years.
2. A more preferred option would be to change the P or CP provision but use money from phase II, and excise tax or others funds that might become available to purchase pounds from the lowest bidders in each county. The quota would then be redistributed to the remaining quota holders or growers in that County. This method is friendlier to the actual grower and would help keep the non-grower entrepreneurs out of the business.
3. I have not read Gov. Patton’s proposal but the one-dollar per year for twenty years would be acceptable as long as the quota is redistributed to the growers in the same county.
If the only way to fund a program is with an excise tax I have some reservations. For my benefit if my choice was one dollar per pound for twenty years (assured by the Government) with an excise tax – I’ll take the tax and the yearly payment.